Wellness

How to wake up feeling like your best self all winter long

Our resident naturopath Natasha Turner took your most-pressing health questions and reported back with some really helpful, and holistic, info to get you over your winter health woes.

alarm clock and female legs on a wooden floor

How to wake up feeling your best every morning this winter (Photo iStock).

A few weeks ago we ran a live question and answer period with naturopath Natasha Turner on our Facebook page. You asked so many great questions that we put all the great info in one place. Read on for holistic ways to stay flu-free and healthy this holiday season.

Q: Can going outside with wet hair really make you sick?
A: I think that’s a myth but it certainly doesn’t hurt to avoid catching a chill. Being cold raises cortisol (the stress hormone) and that can make us more susceptible to infection and cravings for carbs too. It’s best to stay warm to keep your appetite in check.

Q: What do you think about the flu shot for kids aged five to seven? They already take a multivitamin, vitamin C, vitamin D and probiotics daily. 
A: I recommend a homeopathic flu protocol which is great for kids, pregnant women and the whole family. Ask your health food store for Influenzinum 9 CH (take one dose on Mondays) and Thymuline 9 CH (take one dose on Wednesdays) and repeat for five weeks to prevent the flu.

Q: Can you recommend a good supplement to add to a smoothie, low carb?
A: I love Dream Protein. It’s my favourite and I recommend aiming for 20 to 30 grams of protein in your smoothie. Click here to find out how to make the perfect, protein-rich smoothie.

Q: What are your feelings on the high fat, low carb, no grains diet? From what I have read they say it’s hard to sustain, but I have a lot of family that have done it for almost a year and have lost a lot of weight. I know oats are supposed to be good for cholesterol, but they are high in carbs so I have stopped eating those, but have blueberries and raspberries every day in my smoothie with greek yogurt, flax seed, hemp seeds and chia seeds, unsweetened almond milk and a low carb protein powder. I also eat almonds as a snack. My husband eats eggs every day and there is so much confusion about that as well as bacon. Then there is sugar…
A: The first week of The Supercharged Hormone Diet is grain-free and in the second week you can add in one starchy carb. The key is balance for both weight loss and sustaining weight loss. I am a big fan of eggs because they’ve been shown to reduce appetite and balance blood sugars, but of course, if you find yourself experiencing tummy symptoms you may have a food intolerance.

Here’s a helpful article about balancing your diet and I highly recommend kicking off any weight loss program with a detox. Here’s a great how-to.

Q: I have mild and under-control asthma with two triggers — cats and cold weather. I can avoid cats, but not the cold weather! Why do I often feel the need for my inhaler when I’m outside in cold weather?
A: Avoid excess calcium, keep your neck warm and bump up your magnesium. This should help. A bit of caffeine, like green tea, is also helpful.

Q: I need help with acute sciatic pain for two weeks now. Any recommendations?
A: I recommend wobenzym, epa 6:1 fish oil and curcumin. If you have access to an osteopath or acupuncturist, even better!

Q: We are on week three of a super-cold that’s ravaged our family of five (and pregnant me). How do we stop the cycle in our house?
A: Here are my six go-to tips:

1. Steer clear of sugar
Research shows that your immune system will take a hit within just 30 minutes of ingesting sugar – and the effect can last up to five hours. While there are many reasons to ditch your sugar habit, the pending flu season may be right at the top.

2. Bump up your vitamin D levels
Your multivitamin may include 400 to 500 IU of vitamin D, however I recommend that my patients take 25,000 to 40,000 IU per day for three days at the first sign of flu symptoms. After that you can reduce to a maintenance dose of 4,000 to 5,000 IU per day, taken at breakfast. If pregnant, you can bump up to 5,000 IU only. Click here for more on the surprising health benefits of vitamin D.

3. Amp up on andrographis
Take three as soon as you get symptoms and three again at bedtime. Reduce dose down to two to four pills a day once your symptoms clear up. Avoid if you have an autoimmune disease or are pregnant.

4. Load up on vitamin C
Your body can’t store this valuable immune-boosting vitamin and during times of stress (including sickness) you can get depleted fast. While it won’t prevent a cold or flu, it will reduce your symptoms and get you feeling like your old self faster. Take 1,000 mg four to six times per day or until bowel tolerance (the point of loose stools). You can use chewable if you wish.

5. Reach for zinc
There are many reasons to take zinc, from healthy testosterone levels to improved body composition, but once the winter hits, it can keep your immune system in check. As soon as you start sniffling pick up a bottle of zinc lozenges and enjoy as needed to a maximum of 50 mg zinc per day. After a few days you can supplement with 15 mg (women) and 25 mg (men). If pregnant, just use the lozenges (max 20 mg a day when sick).

6. Embrace cold feet
It may sound like an old wives tale but it really works — the wet sock treatment. Simply put on wet socks, covered by thick, dry socks and then go to bed.

For more amazing health advice from Natasha Turner click here.

Natasha Turner, N.D. is a naturopathic doctor, Chatelaine magazine columnist, and author of the bestselling books The Hormone Diet and The Supercharged Hormone Diet. Her newest release, The Carb Sensitivity Program, is now available across Canada. She’s also the founder of the Toronto-based Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique and a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show. For more wellness advice from Natasha Turner, click here.